Friday, April 17, 2009

'Better Off Ted' is getting better all the time

I've been meaning for the past several weeks to write more about "Better Off Ted," since I've seen all of the episodes and have been enjoying them, but it keeps winding up at the bottom of the to-do list, and then suddenly, it feels like it's too late to weigh in on episodes like the racial sensitivity one depicted above.

Fortunately, Isaac Spaceman at Throwing Things has penned an ode to how good the show has gotten, which gives me the chance to link to him, say the obligatory AOL-ish "Me, too!" (though I wouldn't go so far as to call it the Best Show On Television the last few weeks) and hope that I can be back on track for the next episode. Ratings haven't been great, so I wouldn't get too attached, but this is one you're gonna want to enjoy while you can. (And if you haven't seen it and don't mind dealing with the 18,000 menu screens you have to go through on ABC.com to watch it, it's worth catching up on.)

30 comments:

tj cuthbert said...

It is! But no one has been talking about it.. I've been thinking I was the only one who finds it absolutely hilarious.

olucy said...

I like it, too.

But then, I like *anything* that lampoons Corporate America.

Brian said...

I'm *trying* not to get too attached, but dammit, I firmly believe that this would be the next great single-camera sitcom if ABC gives it a chance. I'll almost be more disappointed if this doesn't get renewed than if Chuck doesn't, because at least Chuck had two full(ish) seasons. This week's BOT made me laugh more than last night's Office and 30 Rock (and they both were strong last night).

Beth M. said...

I absolutely love this show! The "fake" commercials are fantastic. Glad to see I'm not alone.

Bookseller Bill said...

Love the show, love the commercials. I wish ABC made them (the commercials) available somehow (I tried poking around the site for them but was unsuccessful).

Anonymous said...

Does any new sitcom start out with decent ratings? I think about Cheers and Seinfeld and how both of those shows took YEARS to build an audience, but then had the biggest, most devoted fanbase in television, and don't understand why TV execs think about pulling the plug so soon. I'm not saying Better Off Ted will be the next Cheers, but there should be room to let funny shows just sit and do there thing and see what happens (see: Arrested Development).

Joe said...

The play on the racial issues on was the highlight, I think. And it managed to get jokes in on institutional racism but also sorta the affirmative action thing if taken to far.

But the ratings can't allow it to come back. And there isn't anyone in the cast who has that kinda charm and charisma that hooks the average viewer. Like NPH, they need an NPH.

Henry said...

I really like Better Off Ted with each week. The racial sensitivity episode was a highlight and while last week's energy Band-Aid episode didn't wholly satisfy, the show still seems quite enjoyable the majority of the time.

Oaktown Girl said...

Last week I got caught up on episodes 3 and 4 online. I thought, "Damn, this is funny! I can't believe Alan isn't blogging about this show".

I'm really liking the characters, esp. the 2 guys in the research lab. It'll be a major bummer if this show gets canned. It's a shame networks are so quick to pull the plug these days. Cheers and who knows what- all other monster hit shows never would have even made it half a season in this environment. I just hope Kings can get a second chance somehow - but not on Direct TV cuz I don't get that.

amitytv said...

Me, too!! (ha, ha)
We are finding better off Ted to be really well-written, wity, and engaging. It was easy to jump in the first week, and each week endears the characters to us a little more. Linda's out-of-character statements were great, and I loved Ted's, "we're gonna let you get away with this because you are impaired right now, but watch it." And the baby-stealing was cringe-worthy, but funny.
We are fans!

Anonymous said...

Love this show! One of my favorite new shows in years along with Party Down. P&R has been good too. Its been a great Spring for new half hour comedies, so lets hope some of the survive.

Antid Oto said...

I want to like the show, but I'm sick of "will they or won't they" running sitcom threads. That's really turned me off in the couple of episodes I've watched.

srpad said...

I don't have much to add other than to say I am loving this show too. Who knows maybe someone from ABC is keeping tabs on this kind of feedback?

isaac_spaceman said...

Well, maybe I'm succumbing to typical blogger hyperbole, but I'm trying to think -- what have I enjoyed more in the last month? I can't think of anything. It's partly because most shows for the last month have either been coasting or at least have been solid without being spectacular.

Anonymous said...

I adore this show too!
It came together and found its stride very early on. Loving the daughter!

My brother and I call the lab guys an even nerdier Turk and JD.

Brian said...

Has anyone else noted how similar stylistically and thematically this show resembles "Working" the NBC Fred Savage office comedy of about 10 years ago (complete with fake commersials for the company). Not that this is a bad thing, as I always liked Working, but I just thought it is funny how ideas get recycled on tv if you wait long enough.

Karen said...

I love this show. It may actually be my favorite sitcom, currently. I can't think of anything I like better (and after last night's weaksauce "30 Rock," the competition is reeeeally slim).

Love Ted, love Veronica, LOVE the battling Phil and Lem. Love the daughter. Love the commercials, which feel very Archer Daniels Midland to me. I wasn't crazy about Ted's reason for pulling back from Linda--felt too programmed--but that's been the only flaw so far, and Linda's reaction to it has been really funny, and different from what one might expect.

I'm truly sorry to hear it's gotten poor numbers. I can't think of a sitcom that's made a stronger showing right out of the gate.

Jen said...

This show has really grown on me. I'm loving it in a way I didn't think I would based on the early promos and commercials. Phil and Lem are fantastic characters. I think that shows that purport to present nerds and nerd culture could learn a thing or two from these guys.

I really hope ABC gives this one a chance.

Pamela Jaye said...

I got about halfway thru the pilot before it stopped being funny. To be honest, I was hoping you'd mention whether it was worth the time to watch the rest of it.
and I just dug thru my Unwatched group. There doesn't seem to be anythin else in there, other than the Unusuals and Cupid (I should probably try that againn) that I either haven't watched at all yet or am on the fence about. (I've found an actual use for promos - use em for shows you are considering watching - never, ever watch them for shows you are committed to)

So I'll try again, but first I have Season 1 of Brothers & Sisters and the first two seasons of Moonlighting, and one is due in 6 days.
(meanwhile I'm editing talk show appearances by Tracy Pollan and Michelle Trachtenberg who has a pilot for, of all places - NBC??)

ooh - fake commercials? I forgot.

Lorrie said...

I love this show! It deserves to live!

Bgklein said...

Lem and Phil (hopefully I remembered the names correctly) are just great in every scene. I could see a web-series of them (though not going to ever happen) worth watching if the show didnt make it.

Billiam said...

As much as I love Scrubs, would any show airing after Scrubs pull in big ratings? I should also note that I laughed more at Ted than Scrubs last week. I'm not sure if the characters are quite as endearing as those on my fav sitcoms (Scrubs, Office, HIMYM, AD, etc.) but the show is certainly entertaining.

boffo said...

Alan, can you use your fancy connections to suggest to ABC or someone who works at the show that the best way to promote it would be to release all the Veridien Dynamics commercials to Youtube?

I spent 20 minutes after the last episode trying to track them down so I could forward the better ones to all my friends, and eventually gave up. Now all my friends don't know how funny the show is.

Whiskey said...

We love this show, even my teenager will unplug from his multimedia harness to watch the show with us. We all laugh heartily and consider it definitely the best new sitcom on network TV. Better off Ted and Party Down are our favorite half-hour shows right now (we don't get CBS, so we're missing out on HIMYM).

Last week's racial [in]sensitivity ep should become a TV classic. And this week's would've been better if there'd been a bit more emphasis on the exploding sun ovens and energy bandaid side-effects, and less of the wrapping paper competition, but I still watched the ep twice and laughed my butt off both times. ABC needs to can the horrible Motherhood show and keep Ted.

Josh said...

Yes! So glad that you're talking about this show again, Alan. The last couple of episodes have been particularly strong, especially the racial sensitivity storyline.

Losing this show will hurt; as I said, grumbling, to my wife on Wednesday, "This show is going to be cancelled, I know it!" It's arguably the closest thing to a mind-meld between Arrested Development and Andy Richter Controls the Universe; I really love this show and will miss it if it goes soon.

Jayne said...

"I spent 20 minutes after the last episode trying to track them down so I could forward the better ones to all my friends, and eventually gave up. Now all my friends don't know how funny the show is."

I think it must be the spelling; I found two sites, both hosted by ABC -

http://veridiandynamics.com/
http://veridian-dynamics.net/

Only the first one had commericals, and it was just a handful..

Alf said...

I had given the pilot a shot but got bored. Then I saw the bandaid episode and liked it. I am now watching episode 2 on ABC.com. (They do not have the pilot up there, which I think is a stupid move.)

Number Five said...

Yeah, their diversity episode was just like The Office's Diversity Day episode, not just in subject matter but coming early in season 1 that proves how good the show could be.

I don't know why the fake commercials are so funny...maybe just because it's such a ripe target. But everything about them is hilarious.

Also, I love the peppy salsa-themed music. Not quite as innovative as 30 Rock, but it's different, a lot of fun, and a good addition to the show.

Anonymous said...

I was never particularly impressed with Andrea Anders on Joey or The Class, but I think she's been great on this show.

blnda said...

I'm not liking the show as much as everyone else here, but I do agree that this has potential.

So far, it's been a bit of a mixed bag : I saw the pilot, which I didn't really care for, but then I also saw the one about the lights that couldn't 'see' black people, which was hilarious! I like the cast, but I'm not sure how much I like the imposed quirkiness of each one of them. It's not too problematic now, but it might be in the future.